The Miami Dolphins are in a tough bind. To start the season they were 3-0 and the AFC East crown looked to be in their grasp. However a four game losing streak including division rivals Bills and Patriots have left them wondering if maybe they are maybe not ready for the spotlight. Now they play a Thursday Night game against the hot Bengals who are fresh off a 49-9 whooping of the Jets. This is a game where the Dolphins must seize the moment or else they will be looking at some massive changes.
The first key to this game will be to stay the course. The past two games the Fins have had great success running the ball, only to abandon it and end up losing. Mike Sherman as offensive coordinator needs to stick to the gameplan that has been giving them success which is running the football. The Bengals are giving up on average 97.3 ypg but a lot of that can be attributed to teams playing catch up to them. If the Dolphins stick with the ground and game and not abandon it, they will control the ball and give the Bengals less time to use their impressive arsenal of weapons.
The biggest key to this game will be Ryan Tannehill. He has made great strides since his rookie year but he has also been a turnover machine especially in critical times. So far through seven games he has nine interceptions and eight fumbles. He has to work better on ball security and not be afraid to throw it away if the play is dead. He has been sacked 32 times and while that can mostly be attributed to a shaky oline, part of the problem has him holding the ball far too long trying to make a play. If OC Sherman doesn’t abandon the run and let Tannehill do some play-action, this offense can put some point on a Bengals secondary that is banged up. Getting Mike Wallace into the game should also help Tannehill and when in doubt, do a bubble screen.
The defense will have its work cut out as it will be facing an offense that is on a roll. Andy Dalton has played like a top-5 QB in recent weeks and is coming off a 5 TD game. The key is to put pressure on him and not allow him to get the ball to Marvin Jones who has been lightning in recent weeks. The Dolphins run defense has stepped up in the last two games and they will be facing a rushing attack that has only been averaging 99 ypg so far. By making Dalton uncomfortable and shutting down the running the game. The Dolphins D could take up the slack for a struggling offense.
Overall this will be a sloppy game as it will be a defensive struggle. If Tannehill can play more like he did in the beginning of the year, the Dolphins have a shot, but if not, this could move to a 5 game losing streak and many will wonder if this team can turn it around.
The other Miami team heads up to Tallahassee to play the Florida State Seminoles. They will be facing the best QB in CFB in Famous Jameis Winston and will have a tough one. This looks to be a blowout but anything goes in this rivalry. Go Noles!
Written by ArcherNoles (who will be at the game)